A report from GizMag describes how Fujifilm is considering operating a chain of kiosks capable of printing 3D models.
Yes, we thought this was strange, too.
The idea is that an inexpensive 3D printer "kiosk" would be located in trafficked areas where customers could peruse a catalog of objects and select one for printing. The catalog would provide a finite list of possible models and offer some level of personalization, likely similar to what we've seen from Ponoko, Shapeways and other 3D print services.
Ok, this we understand. But what we don't understand is how this could possibly succeed. 3D prints take (often) hours to complete, even for simple objects. You wouldn't be able to push a button and walk away with your print; you'd have to come back later. While Fujifilm apparently realizes this, we believe that requiring folks to come back to pick up a print would dramatically lower the interest rate, particularly if the fee is high.
Worse for Fujifilm is that very similar functionality already exists with the major 3D print services. Any one of them could pop up "kiosks" in malls or streets quickly and do the same thing. Their kiosks would simply allow product selection and ordering - and the print would show up at their residence later by courier.
At least they're starting to think about 3D printing.
Via GizMag (Hat tip to Michael)